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"The Regional Algae Initiative" Rick Halperin, The Project Manager

February 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

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“The initiative includes San Diego’s growing mini-cluster of algae-based biofuels startups” Halperin says “the effort also plans to rely on a recent macro-economic study on “mega-region” economic development that identifies ways in which groups in San Diego and Imperial Counties can collaborate”

Imperial County, which borders Mexico between San Diego County and Arizona, consists of 4,597 square miles and is increasingly being viewed as a paradise for renewable energy, as an ideal hotbed for growing algae in all its multipurpose forms.

“The idea for a regional algae initiative is relatively virtual,” Halperin told . The initiative is intended to encourage collaboration, for example, by developing and sharing information on sources of government grants and other public funding for algae-based projects that span the continuum from laboratory to construction of large-scale plants. “We’re trying to be very cross-disciplinary in our approach to all this,” Halperin says. “The regional algae initiative is part cheerleading and part figuring out what needs to get done and what needs to get cleared out of our path.”

Apart from using algae to produce biofuels, Halperin says the potential uses for algae are legion. New technologies are being developed in San Diego that use algae to produce methane gas for electric power plants—and as algal pond filters capable of absorbing carbon dioxide emissions from the same power plants. New technologies that use algae to process and cleanse sewage wastewater also could prove helpful to the City of San Diego, which is currently operating its wastewater treatment plant under an EPA waiver.

“The more you can combine your industry initiatives with solutions that address some other problems, the better your chance of getting funding,” Halperin says.

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